Jason C. Eck, DO, MS
Dr. Eck received a Bachelor of Science degree from the Catholic University of America in Biomedical Engineering, followed by a Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Marquette University. Following this he worked as a research engineer conducting spine biomechanics research. He then attended medical school at University of Health Sciences. He is board eligible in orthopaedic surgery.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Whiplash facts
- What is whiplash?
- What causes whiplash?
- What are the symptoms of whiplash?
- How is whiplash diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for whiplash?
- What can be done to prevent whiplash?
What causes whiplash?
Whiplash is most commonly caused by a motor vehicle accident in which the person is in a car that is not moving, and is struck by another vehicle from behind. It is commonly thought the rear impact causes the head and neck to be forced into hyperextended (backward) position as the seat pushes the person's torso forward - and the unrestrained head and neck fall backwards. After a short delay the head and neck then recover and are thrown into a hyperflexed (forward) position.
More recent studies investigating high-speed cameras and sophisticated crash dummies have determined that after the rear impact the lower cervical vertebrae (lower bones in the neck) are forced into a position of hyperextension while the upper cervical vertebrae (upper bones in the neck) are in a hyperflexed position. This leads to an abnormal S-shape in the cervical spine after the rear impact that is different from the normal motion. It is thought that this abnormal motion causes damage to the soft tissues that hold the cervical vertebrae together (ligaments, facet capsules, muscles).
What are the symptoms of whiplash?
Common symptoms related to whiplash may include:
- neck pain and stiffness,
- shoulder pain and stiffness,
- jaw pain (temporomandibular joint symptoms),
- arm pain,
- arm weakness,
- visual disturbances,
- ringing in the ears (tinnitus), and
- back pain.
In a more severe and chronic case of "whiplash associated disorder" symptoms may include:
- drug dependency,
- post-traumatic stress syndrome,
- sleep disturbance (insomnia),
Patients with whiplash injuries may enter into litigation and social isolation may occur as a result of their symptoms.
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